Last year, I contributed several “how you met” stories to the website “So…How Did You Meet Anyway?” run by Susan Amestoy out of Vermont.
I started off by submitting a now-familiar story about me and a special guy I spent time with when I lived in Massachusetts. Susan was so enthused about it and the response to it that she asked if I had any more, so I started interviewing friends and submitting their stories to her.
But after a news report about her site, she found herself with a backlog of stories so only two more of mine have been posted – until now. Like the lost episodes of “The Honeymooners”, here are two of those previously unpublished stories.
So How Did You Meet Anyway?
Paul & Julie
Paul and Julie met in the summer of 1994 in Manila, Philippines at a mutual friend’s end-of-summer/back-to-school party. He was going into his third year of high school. She had just moved to the area from Los Angeles and was starting her first.
Paul was friends with Julie’s older brother Alex, who had moved to the Philippines two years earlier to spend time with their dad. Paul knew that Alex had a younger sister, but that was the extent of his familiarity with her.
Julie, on the other hand, had already known of Paul from yearbook pictures and was briefed on him by her friend Marie, who described Paul as a “dark, brooding type”.
At the party, Alex and Marie introduced Julie to their group of friends, who were all hanging out in an upstairs game room.
Paul was in the middle of playing a video game when Julie arrived but when she walked in, he immediately thought that she was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen.
Alex was the de facto leader of the group as well as captain of the Tae Kwon Do team of which they were all a part. However, as soon as Julie walked into the room and saw Paul for the first time in person, she thought of him as the center of all the action.
Paul didn’t carry himself as such though. He fell in line with the group, but he wasn’t a blind follower. He was his own man with his own thoughts, most of which he kept to himself. He didn’t carry his drawing power in the same way as Alex, so most of their friends didn’t notice it behind the brooding, but Julie did. And she liked the fact that she may have been the only one.
Though Paul didn’t talk to Julie at first, it was still “show time” for him as he began to laugh louder and put on a bit of a performance to impress the “fresh meat in the water”. It was as if he was showing her what she was already seeing and what was only hers to see.
But on Julie’s first day of school a month later, she was walking down the hall and saw a familiar face approaching. It was Paul. She said hello. He ignored her and walked on. He just couldn’t bring himself to so much as look at Julie let alone talk to her. For him, it was like looking into the sun.
Despite sharing the same circle of friends and competing on the same Tae Kwon Do team, it wasn’t until Paul’s birthday party the following June that they had an actual conversation with each other. Unfortunately, Julie was heading back to the United States to become a naturalized citizen. They signed each other’s yearbooks and talked about how much of a shame it was that they weren’t going to be seeing each other again.
However, on the first day of school that fall, Paul was walking down the hall and saw a familiar face approaching. To his surprise, it was Julie. Her parents had changed their mind about sending her back to the states. This time he said hello and told her how cool it was to see her.
Thus began a year-long “dance” between Paul and Julie. For the first half, they were both dating other people. Both were supportive of one another on the outside but harboring feelings of jealousy on the inside.
By the middle of the school year, however, they were both single but Paul continued to hold Julie at arm’s length. He was afraid of being rejected by someone who was in his same circle of friends even though all their friends already knew how much they liked each other and talked about it often.
Still, neither Paul nor Julie knew how to initiate a move toward dating. He didn’t want to risk messing up their growing friendship and she thought he saw her as a sister.
Toward the end of the school year, it was decided that Julie and her older brother Alex would both be going back to the States. This time it was definite. Alex was being sent ahead to help set things up while Julie would finish the school year and follow in the summer. At Alex’s going away party, Paul and Julie had a “come to Jesus” conversation. Since Paul was going to college in Boston and she would be finishing high school in Los Angeles, they decided to give their relationship a chance and date long-distance.
For the next four years, they spoke on the phone every chance they had and visited each other during every school break. Outside of a short period during which they had broken up, they remained committed to each other throughout.
Paul graduated from college in 2000 and relocated to Los Angeles to be with Julie. After living with her family for a year, they moved to Burbank together but their relationship quickly deteriorated and they broke things off again shortly after she graduated from college in 2002.
They kept in some contact for a time but eventually began to live their own separate lives.
Five years later, Paul gave her a call and they re-established contact. By the end of that year, they had reconciled after discovering that they “weren’t done yet.”
They moved in together in March of 2008.
Say Anything is one of Julie’s favorite movies. Paul had seen the trailer when he was a child and wanted to be like Lloyd Dobler in the trench coat who won a lady’s heart with the boombox move. Coincidentally, Julie had always thought of Paul as a guy much like Lloyd Dobler. When she told him that it was one of her favorite movies, he made it a point to finally see it.
In February of 2009, Paul involved Julie’s family as he prepared his marriage proposal to her. Julie was sleeping in this particular morning. In a recreation of that iconic scene from the movie, Paul put on a trench coat and held up a boom box with the song “In Your Eyes” playing. Behind him were four members of her family each holding up a piece of poster board containing one word that collectively asked “WILL YOU MARRY ME?”
Julie’s mother went into her room to wake her up. Barely able to hold back tears, she told her to look out the window. Julie was so tired, confused and overwhelmed by the moment that she forgot to listen to what Paul was saying. And then she forgot to say “yes”, necessitating Paul to repeat what he said so that she could give him the affirmative response.
They organized an 80s-themed engagement party and on April 30 – the anniversary of their initial coupling, had a civil ceremony at the Beverly Hills Courthouse. On the same date in 2010, they had an official church wedding in the Philippines.
Paul and Julie are expecting their first child in July of 2012.
One of the interesting things about collecting these stories was the reluctance of a lot of people to share them – not because there wasn’t a story to tell, they just didn’t feel as if there was anything special about their particular story.
I tend to disagree. Some of the simplest of stories have the sweetest moments. And I’m a moments guy.
Because no matter how simple or how Hollywood that story is, two people still needed to find each other and two people still needed to fall in love – with each other. That’s two strikes of lightning. And you know how rare those are.
So…How Did You Meet Anyway?
Matthew & Wayne
In the spring of 2007, Matthew moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan after having lived in Sweden for five years and set up a profile on The Hunt. Wayne, who liked Matthew’s chest shot, sent him a message.
Despite the reputation of the site, the two had a relatively innocent conversation.
Matthew was not out at the time and had just gotten out of a four-year relationship with a woman in Sweden. They were planning to get married but she didn’t want to come to the States.
After two months of chatting, Wayne wanted to meet Matthew in person but Matthew was reluctant since he didn’t know what to expect. Wayne was still able to convince him to come over to his place.
Matthew was pleasantly surprised by what he saw when Wayne came to the door, as he had exceeded expectations.
They went to Blockbuster to rent a movie but it took Matthew a very long time to pick one and he wound up selecting the very date-friendly Apocalypto. Wayne had seen it before but for some reason did not object to the selection.
While watching the movie, Wayne expressed his interest by putting a hand on Matthew’s leg. Matthew was similarly interested but wasn’t ready to let his guard down. He did let it down enough for the two of them to start making out during the movie, which was fine since Matthew was not interested in watching any more of it.
Matthew and Wayne stayed in touch with each other throughout the summer.
That fall, Wayne called and told Matthew that they needed to talk. Matthew was very much into Wayne by this time and afraid that Wayne was going to break up with him.
Instead, Matthew showed up to Wayne’s apartment – where he sat Matthew down on his couch, got down on one knee and proposed that they date each other exclusively.
In 2009, Matthew and Wayne moved in together.
As a bonus, below are links to the two other stories that were posted:
Original Fiction from a Sitcom Mind > The Halls of Shambala > The Non-Fiction Archives: 2012-2014 >